Tuesday 15 December 2009

Purple Fingers and Christmassy Nonsense

I have to admit I was completely lazy over the weekend nothing much was done other than a lot of tv watching and a brief trip into town to buy provisions for our weekend hibernation.  David has done really well over the last few weeks studying for his exams, writing them and then straight back to work, so this past weekend was our first weekend together since I've been back where David didn't have to study...and so we enjoyed a well deserved lazy weekend!

Well it was back to work for David yesterday morning, early and in the cold leaving me to my own devices...

Sunday night I discovered that one of our crisper drawers in the fridge is filled to the brim with beetroot! I think I have just been dumping the beetroot from the veggie boxes and the allotment in there and trying to forget about it, and now...we are overrun with GIGANTIC beetroot.  That was all well and good until I had a look on line and realised that we would be receiving EVEN more beetroot with our delivery on Thursday! Tis the Season I suppose...

I don't know if I really have to declare this or not...but if you haven't guessed already...we are bound to have beetroot all week long! David was spared yesterday though because I used a good 3 lbs up making beetroot relish during the day (for xmas gifties) resulting in a nice dent in the beetroot supply.  I had been faffing about with the idea of making chutney or relish months ago to give away at xmas, and was saving jars....and then I decided that I wouldn't bother and want to use the jars as makeshift vases for the wedding....and then, well, the beetroot situation got out of control....so after adding a few other ingredients I was left with a sticky sweet and sour beetroot relish....it tasted sharp and sugary while still warm and I can't wait wait wait to try it now that it is cooled down.  I managed to get 5 jars of various sizes out of this recipe, with a small tupperwear container left for me and David. 

I did a quick web search for beetroot relish and adapted a few different posts I found on allotment forums and greenliving websites. I don't normally post recipes but I think that this is such a simple relish to make that I have to share it!!!

Beetroot Relish My Way

3 lbs beetroot
1 large cooking onion
1 large cooking apple
12 oz white sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 pint white vinegar
(handful of sultana raisens-optional)

Cook beetroot with skin on in a large saucepan of water until tender.  Drain and let cool until you can bare to handle them.  Using your fingers or the back of a knife peel the beetroot and then dice into small pieces. 

Peel and dice onion and apple.

Put all the ingredients into a large saucepan.  Bring to the boil and then simmer until soft and the liquid has thickened. 

Spoon still hot relish into sterilized jars and leave to cool before putting in the fridge. 

****TOP TIP wear rubber glooves when handling beetroot to save you fingers from turning pink (as well as anything else you touch!)

While the relish was bubbling away on the stove I worked on my wedding invitations, and dreamed of all the Christmassy things I have in mind for the house.  It is really hard to keep my craftyness focused on one thing, and realistically the wedding should be at the top of the list....but Christmas is so so so soon...and I have TONS of time after Christmas to do wedding crafting....right? right? RIGHT? The invitations, of course are the exception...they have to be done NOW...or else...NO WEDDING GUESTS! oh dear....I am desperate to share the design with you but have to resist until they are mailed out and mostly received! Until then....shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Between beetroot relish and wedding invitations most of yesterday was taken up, but luckily and sweetly and wonderfully and all those things....David made a gorgeous stew on Sunday night for dinner and we were frugal and disciplined enough to leave leftovers for Monday night dinner, which meant that I had nothing to prepare leaving me extra time to craft....turing my attention to Christmas I got on with the second half of my housewife tasks for the day....

POP POP POP!!! Popcorn and Cranberry Garlands for the tree!!!

We've agreed that the tree is done now.  Mostly homemade decorations this year with the few that I have collected the last couple of years and those I couldn't resist buying in Toronto.  We have TONS of time to acquire gaudy sparkly lovely baubles and other decorations.  For now, I absolutely LOVE our tree!! 

It took a while to thread the garlands and it was a painful operation, poor little sticky bloody fingers, but the finished product was well worth it (Kirstie Allsopp eat your heart out again!!! this is quickly becoming my catchphrase this Christmas)!!

After dinner we were both still a little bit peckish and so...to round up the Christmassy day I baked a batch of Grandma Kay's Shortbread Cookies.  YUM!

These shortbread cookies are a tradition in our family, especially at Christmas (although I am a firm believer that shortbread can be eaten all year round, morning, noon or night especially Grandma Kay's!). My Grandma decorates them with half a glacee cherry (red or green) or with a few rows of fork pricks, simple and gorgeous!!  These shortbread cookies have a smooth and buttery texture and are less crumbly than the traditional store bought variety (although I would kill for a Marks and Spencers Shortbread in June).  The difference in texture is down to using Icing Sugar instead of regular granulated sugar in the mixture leave it smooth and OH SO GOOD!

I'll be making a couple more batches over the next week to include with my beetroot relish christmas goodies.  For now these cookies bring me home and make me feel less far away from my family than I am. 

ps I feel like I have to mention that I have already accepted that I may have to wear a pair of tummy sucking in underwear under my wedding dress (sorry Zia) I just can't reign myself in over Christmas!


  1. All that beetroot... wow! Nessie has a very good family recipe for Beetroot salad and one for beetroot soup too. Staples in our house. :)I'll see if I can get her to give them up for ya.

  2. Alice- I would be honoured if Nessie would share her beetroot recipes with me! South African or European in origin? x

  3. Grandma Kay will be so proud when I show her this.

  4. Recipe is Eastern European with a South African twist! I saw a big bunch of beetroot in the fridge this morning, so I'll ask for a salad lesson this afternoon :)BTW... trying to make some shortbread today and gingerbread tomorrow! We're having Hannukkah tea on Saturday with latkes and cookies on the menu... I'm in charge of the sweet. Nessie's doing the savoury!